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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Vols beat Gators in walk-off fashion, force rubber match

<p>Tennessee forced a do-or-die Game 3 in the Gainesville Super Regional with an extra-innings win over Florida on Saturday.</p>

Tennessee forced a do-or-die Game 3 in the Gainesville Super Regional with an extra-innings win over Florida on Saturday.

Hannah Adams stood just 60 feet away.

The UF second baseman led off the top of the eighth inning with a double through the left-center gap and advanced to third on a wild pitch with one out.

Pinch hitter Jordan Matthews struck out to make it two, however, and center fielder Alex Voss hit a ground ball into the outstretched glove of UT pitcher Caylan Arnold to end the threat.

“That one stung,” UF coach Tim Walton said of leaving Adams on base, “clearly stung.”

The Volunteers capitalized in the bottom of the ninth when they had the bases loaded and Aubrey Leach on third. A game-ending walk by Haley Bearden gave Tennessee the 3-2 victory in front of a record crowd (3,140) at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

“I just appreciate that, that people are screaming their guts out for us,” Walton said. “At no moment in the game did anybody in the stands feel like we would lose, and I felt that.”

Game 3 of the Gainesville Super Regional will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday with a trip to the Women’s College World Series on the line.

The Gators battled back twice from one-run deficits before the contest slipped away in extra innings.

Tennessee struck in the bottom of the first when Leach knocked a leadoff single and took second on a delayed steal later in the frame. The UT shortstop advanced to third on a wild pitch then strode home on an RBI single by Chelsea Seggern.

The Gators responded with a run in the top of the fourth.

Designated player Kendyl Lindaman led off the inning with a single to second base. Adams reached on an error on the very next play, allowing Amanda Beane, who pinch ran for Lindaman, to take second.

Right fielder Jaimie Hoover followed Adams with a single that hit off of third base and took a high bounce into left field. Beane scored an unearned run from second to tie the game.

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UF pitcher Kelly Barnhill and UT pitcher Caylan Arnold both threw over 150 pitches and battled with runners on base. Tennessee left nine runners on and Florida left 10.

Free passes by Barnhill and Arnold allowed base runners to reach in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. Each runner came around to score her team’s second run.

Barnhill plunked UT catcher Kaili Phillips, who touched home on a pinch-hit single by Madison Pacini.

Arnold walked two of the first three hitters she faced in the fifth. UF left fielder Jade Caraway scored on a single by Adams to tie the contest at 2-2.

Adams went 3 for 5 and was the only Gator with a multi-hit performance.

“My entire mindset, I feel like, has been working for me, especially in the postseason,” Adams said. “We made it a big point that what we did in the last game doesn’t matter. I didn’t have the best game at the plate, and it really didn’t matter.”

Barnhill pitched all the way into the ninth inning, though she was pulled after she gave up two straight walks to Leach and designated player Amanda Ayala with one out.

Left-hander Katie Chronister allowed a single to Seggern, the only batter she faced.

Natalie Lugo relieved Chronister with the bases loaded, walking Bearden with a 3-2 count on a pitch barely outside the strike zone.

“I know that they (the pitchers) left it all out there and did their best to make a good pitch,” UF shortstop Sophia Reynoso said. “I couldn’t ask for more.”

Follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr. Contact him at

Tennessee forced a do-or-die Game 3 in the Gainesville Super Regional with an extra-innings win over Florida on Saturday.

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